It's easy to get stressed over communication problems, travel plans going awry, and electronic devices that won't play ball. You may take it in your stride and think 'I'm just having a bad day/month.' But, there are some planet watchers out there who anticipate these things happening because Mercury is in retrograde.
So, what does that mean? Can we really attribute these issues to the retrograde movement of this small planet? Do the planets have any influence on our lives at all? Well, ancient cultures, astronomers, mystics, energy practitioners and more, believe they can. The key to unravelling the influential mystery of planets in our everyday lives, is to take a walk, hand in hand with cosmology and quantum physics.
The physics of the matter
Galactic Chemical Evolution shows that every element was made in a star. And, if you combine those elements in different ways you can make species of gas, minerals, and bigger things like asteroids. From asteroids you can start making planets, water, and other ingredients required for life. And then, eventually, us.
Planetary scientists like Dr Ashley King know that most of the elements of our bodies were formed in stars over the course of billions of years and multiple star lifetimes. However, it's also possible that some of our hydrogen (which makes up roughly 9.5% of our bodies) and lithium, which our body contains in very tiny trace amounts, originated from the Big Bang.
Now, couple this knowledge with an understanding of quantum physics. In quantum entanglement, the quantum state of one electron is tied to those of neighbouring electrons, even when separated by considerable distances. In other words, the quantised particles that make up our bodies are entangled with the source from which they evolved. This entanglement stretches to everything in our universe, planets included. When you understand this, the idea that Mercury retrograde can affect our everyday lives seems much less far fetched.
A few scientific facts about Mercury:
Innermost of the planets, Mercury swoops to within 46,000,000 kilometers of the Sun, then slows down as it swings out to some 70,000,000 km away. The spacecraft Mariner 10 sent back our first detailed pictures of Mercury’s Moon-like surface in early 1974. One of the spacecraft’s most important findings was that Mercury has a magnetic field strong enough to turn aside the mighty solar winds. Another finding was that Mercury’s surface is covered with craters that were probably made early in its history, when rocky meteorites up to several kilometers across crashed into the young planet.
Until recently, people thought Mercury was the smallest planet; however, new observations and measurements indicate that Pluto is smaller. Mercury’s orbit is more elliptical than the path of any other planet except Pluto. If orbits were racetracks, speedy Mercury would leave the other planets behind. It zips along at about one and a half times the speed of Earth. For all its speed, Mercury’s spin is slow; so slow that six Earth months go by before the Sun appears from one high noon to the next high noon.
So what does 'Retrograde' mean?
Planets and bodies can appear to be moving backwards in the sky for a period of time. When they do they are said to be retrograde. “Appear” is the word to take notice of in the sentence above. Because, technically speaking, no planet actually moves backwards in their orbits around the Sun. In fact, they don’t even slow down.
Retrograde is an illusion that results from our point of view from Earth. This illusion occurs because the Earth is also orbiting the Sun at a different speed than the other planets.
Mercury turns retrograde more frequently than any other planet. Mercury can never be more than 28 degrees from the Sun. Whenever it reaches its furthest distance from the Sun, it changes direction.
So, when Mercury enters retrograde, the effect of its affinities are thought to be reversed. From our understanding of Mercury's influence on communication, intellect, and awareness, this can mean disruption to the usual harmonious flow.
Mercury, Messenger of the Roman Gods
Mercury itself has been mentioned as early as the 2nd millennium BC by the Sumerians, and recorded by the Babylonians—they called the planet Nabu. Since these ancient times, Mercury has been seen as ruling communication, intellect, and awareness. Therefore, affecting our logic, reasoning, manner of thinking, and how we create and express our thought processes.
Mercury in Roman Mythology, is the god of trade or commerce and the messenger of the gods. The son of Jupiter and Maia—one of the Pleiades—he is commonly identified as the Roman equivalent of the Greek god Hermes. In ancient times, messages from one ruler to another or between armies were carried by “heralds” who had to be treated with respect and were not to be harmed.
These heralds carried a special staff as the sign of their position—a caduceus—and Hermes carried such a staff. Supposedly, because Hermes moved so quickly, the staff, as well as his cap and sandals, had wings. Of all the planets in our solar system, the one that moves most quickly against the background of the stars was naturally named after the swift-footed Hermes. Mercury's cult was established at Rome in the year 495 BC.
In astro-mythology, the messenger is the intermediary between the four elements, air, earth, fire, water, and the phenomena produced by them.
In the symbol of mercury we see the crescent opening upward, a gesture of receptivity. This physical attribute falls in line with the symbolic personality of this planet, as Mercury is the planet of open-mindedness, new ideas and intelligence. The circle speaks of formulating whole concepts, making ideas real and substantial. The visual journey of the Mercury symbol ends in an equal armed cross. This is the final stage of solidification of thought. It indicates our thoughts have become manifest in the material world.
Taking Mercury's mythology and symbolism into consideration, when the planet appears in retrograde chaos can ensue. The receptive crescent becomes more close minded, lacking in new ideas which creates frustration. The circle of wholeness fails to manifest new ideas into reality and we can become stuck. And the equal armed cross leaves our thoughts jumbled and confused.
As the god of trade and commerce, when Mercury is retrograde, do not be surprised if business projects become delayed. It may feel as though no amount of eloquent communication falls outside its chaotic influence. Many planet watchers purposely avoid designing new projects or making travel plans when Mercury is in retrograde.